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The Secret Of Selecting A Suitable Material For Upholstery

Nov 6, 2007
Shopping for fabrics for drapery and upholstery can be a daunting task, and if two are involved in making the decision, it can get downright overwhelming. But rest assured, there are some very clear ways to tackle the problem: first, to identify all the various factors to consider and then arrive at some guidelines for making that final decision.

Now when attempting to select the kind of fabrics you're going to need, you will come across a seemingly endless assortment of patterns, textures and weights from which to choose. In addition, you will need to be aware of each type of fabric's durability, ease of cleaning, and resistance to dirt and fading.

It can definitely feel like staring up at Mount Everest right at the beginning of the journey. But now let's zone in on what's really important during this phase, so that we can clear the first decision making hurdle with ease.

The two most important factors that you must consider when selecting a fabric are form and function. I like to describe it like this: Form is what you want the fabric to look like. What colors and patterns do you want? Function relates to how the fabric will be used. Is it a showpiece that will not be subject to wear and tear, or is it something that will be constantly used by small children? Will there be household pets jumping up and down on it? Are they particularly hairy and prone to shedding? Really think about the variables for a few minutes and you begin to eliminate a lot of possibilities right out the gate.

The answers to the questions you ask yourself will assist you in determining whether you should be focusing on finding a material that is durable and resistant to dirt and stains (and on finding a color that hides stains well), or one that is delicate and not as easily kept clean. It can be very tempting to go for the flashier, more aesthetically pleasing option, but function is critical in the long-term to making the right choice - try to find a balance between pizzazz and practicality.

This list of commonly found upholstery fabrics and their appropriate uses will help you to select which material is best for you:

Acrylic - Synthetic fiber, developed as imitation wool, that resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading

Cotton - Natural fiber that is resistant to wear, fading, and pilling

Linen - Used in formal living rooms and adult-only areas

Nylon - Typically blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics

Polyester - Blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading

Silk - Delicate fabric that must be professionally cleaned if soiled. Suitable for formal living room and other adult-only areas.

Vinyl - Easy-care and less expensive than leather, ideal for busy family living and dining rooms

Wool - Offers good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil

Defining the decision making process and listing the options available to you has hopefully been helpful in shaping the way you will approach choosing the right material for your drapes or upholstery. Good decorating!
About the Author
For your home needs, Peter recommends using a Joann Coupon and Sharper Image Coupon at CouponKathy.com.
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